Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim
What if pleasing my parents and wanting to do comedy are both pieces of my heart?
Hurrah! A middle grade book that is funny. And heartwarming and painfully honest. Bonus: It is served with a side of tasty Korean barbecue.
Meet Yumi Chung, eleven-year-old daughter of immigrant parents. Pressure. She constantly feels parental pressure to excel academically. It's particularly difficult because her older sister Yuri is the embodiment of the ideal Korean daughter: accelerated educational advancement and currently a medical school student.
Not Yumi. Earning high marks and academic accolades are not that important. What she really loves is stand-up comedy. This seems bizarre, as she is painfully self-conscious.
Mom has decided that Yumi will spend her summer with tutoring sessions in preparation for the SSAT, Secondary School Admission Test. Yumi grudgingly heads off for morning test prep sessions combined with three hours of afternoon study at the library.
She discovers a comedy club adjacent to the library. What luck! YouTube sensation Jasmine Jasper is facilitating a comedy camp. Right now. At the club. Yumi succumbs to temptation and steps inside. She is mistaken for a camp registrant who failed to show. Here’s Yumi’s chance to shine. Performing using another identity frees her from stage fright. She is a success!
Yumi's juggling act of working at the restaurant, attending morning test prep classes, maintaining the pretense of studying daily at the library, preparing a routine for an upcoming comedy club showcase, and assuming the identity of another workshop participant all comes crashing down. Big time.
Like Korean barbecue Stand Up, Yumi Chung! is sweet with a few salty tears but definitely savory. YUM! Kudos Jessica Kim.
Holy Hot Cheetos!
It's Yumi's Super-Secret Comedy Notebook
Yumi picked up a tip from her comedy idol Jasmine Jasper. She maintains a journal, recording her observations and reactions to events in her life. These entries could be the basis for possible jokes and comedy routines.
Readers will find several pages from Yumi’s notebook scattered throughout the first person narrative. Yumi accompanies her entries with personal emojis that express her current mood .